Like anything in life, in order to be successful, you need a plan and a strategy to implement that plan. If your plan is returning to a pain-free life, the key is to build a strategy that will keep you accountable and moving forward. For Physical Therapy, your physical therapist is here to guide you, and if you focus on these three strategy-building tips, you will be successful. (Notice how consistency is a common theme!)
Be consistent with your home exercise program.
In your initial evaluation session, your physical therapist gave you a couple of exercises to do at home, and will occasionally add to your home exercise library. These home exercises are a vital component of your PT plan of care because:
- They incorporate important movements into your lifestyle
- They increase blood flow to injured tissues for faster healing
- They move and lengthen your muscles and joints for better flexibility and mobility
- They increase muscle memory to get lasting results
- The more you understand and master the different exercises, the more quickly you can progress through your plan of care.
Realize that while you only spend up to 3 or 4 hours per week at your physical therapy sessions, you can and should spend up to 7 hours per week on your home exercise program to ensure maximum outcomes. Sound like a lot? Think of your home exercises as part of your daily exercise routine!
Be consistent with your PT appointments.
Several studies and 20+ years of experience clearly show that the more frequently and consistently you attend physical therapy, the greater your chances are of returning to a pain-free life. These same studies show that attending three PT sessions per week is more beneficial than two sessions per week, and way more beneficial than once a week. Why? You are less likely to overdo on any given session when you come in more frequently, and your body’s tissues respond best to lower level stresses that are applied more frequently.
Also, different people respond to treatment differently, and having multiple visits within a week allows us to tweak your program quickly if any problems arise.
Communicate: Listen to your body and tell your PT how you are feeling.
Pain is a warning; it’s your body telling you that you are stressing your tissues. If you are stressing your injured tissues, you are likely exacerbating your injury. It’s really important to listen to your body’s pain signals and stop stressing those tissues so as not to exacerbate your injury any further.
Additionally, some people confuse “muscle soreness” for pain. Muscle soreness is a signal of your body being activated and gaining strength. It is important that you recognize the difference between pain and muscle soreness. Communicating with your PT about how you are feeling and what’s happening with your body helps guide the focus of your session, whether that’s on healing, recovering, or progressing with strength and mobility.
Remember, you’re in physical therapy not just to get rid of your pain right now, but to get back to doing the activities you enjoy without pain. This is a life-long journey, and by keeping these three tips in mind, you’ll be off to a strong, sustainable start.
Contact G3 today to get started on your physical therapy journey!
Tags: Physical Therapy